Travis Perkins, parent company of IRUK Top500-listed Wickes and Toolstation , said today that investment in online growth had helped it to win market share and to position it for the future.
The company said that despite uncertainty, and weaker demand, immediately before and after the EU referendum result, it would continue to invest in its businesses.
Chief executive John Carter said a “solid” performance in the first half of 2016 reflected both hard work and investment strategies. “The investments to extend our range, build out our distribution infrastructure, expand our network and accelerate our online growth have helped us continue to win market share and to position us well for the future,” he said. “We plan to continue to invest in our businesses where we can generate strong returns and create value for our shareholders over the long-term.”
The update came as Travis Perkins reported revenues of £3.1bn in the first half of its financial year, 5.8% up on the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £176m were 10.7% up on last time. Its consumer division, which includes both Wickes, a Top100 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, and Toolstation, a Top250 company, reported 6.5% like-for-like sales growth in the six months to June 30, well above the group result of 3.1%. Like-for-like sales strip out the effect of store openings and closures – and total sales of £766m were 10.5% ahead of last time, after the 18 new branches were opened across the division.
Wickes and Toolstation both invested online, as did the builders’ merchant business Travis Perkins. Online sales, said the company, grew ahead of store sales. During the half-year, Wickes started to trial the use of local delivery providers to improve its service and reduce the cost-to-serve, while Toolstation extended its online-only range to 850 products. B2B-focused Travis Perkins launched a new transactional website, selling its trade offers range online for the first time.